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Sudden cardiac death subject of sweeping UCSF study in San Francisco
Date:6/15/2011

A new study by the University of California, San Francisco's Cardiac Electrophysiology Service seeks to discover for the first time the true causes of sudden cardiac death (SCD), why it is more prevalent in some demographic populations, and whether it is too often inaccurately cited as a cause of death.

Working with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the City and County of San Francisco, researchers will fully investigate every death attributed to a sudden cardiac event in San Francisco over a three-year period. They hope to learn the biological risk factors for the disease and improve medical therapy for patients.

The rich character and cultural composition of San Francisco make it an ideal microcosm for such population studies. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, San Francisco's current level of ethnic diversity is where the national demographic will shift to in about 30 years. The researchers express hope that the study will result in valid predictors for the prevalence and causes of sudden death within the entire U.S. population.

Recognizing the need for timely research in sudden death, the National Institutes of Health awarded UCSF funding of $1.9 million over five years for Zian H. Tseng, MD, assistant professor of medicine in UCSF's Cardiac Electrophysiology Service, to mount a comprehensive community-based project with the Medical Examiner's office, where all such deaths are reported.

"More than anything, we want to prevent SCDs by understanding who is at highest risk for the disease and which medical interventions, like defibrillators, are likely to be most effective," Tseng said. "To do that, we need to know the prevalence of risk factors such as inherited arrhythmias in various populations and whether an individual actually died of SCD rather than an aneurysm, for example. A great way to collect that data is to utilize public information already being collected by the Medical Examiner's Office."<
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Contact: Jeffrey Norris
jeff.norris@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert  

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